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Santorum Enters GOP Presidential Contest

Posted by Stephen on June 6, 2011

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced Monday that he is entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination, saying he’s “in it win it.”

“We’re ready to announce that we’re going to be in this race,” Santorum said on a television news show ahead of a rally in Somerset, Pa. He will then fly to Iowa for events on June 7, and to New Hampshire on June 8-9.

Santorum, the former No. 3 Republican in the U.S. Senate, was to rally at the Somerset County Courthouse, a location that his team said is significant because it is near where Santorum’s grandfather settled in the U.S. “after leaving fascist Italy to work in the Pennsylvania coal mines until he was 72 years old. He chose to come to America for the freedom our nation offered him.”

Santorum has said that he has already visited the three early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina because he’s taking the approach that he doesn’t want to appeal to niche groups in the GOP base, but to all comers.

Santorum, however, is popular among social conservatives who prefer his strong anti-abortion stance and opposition to gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

The blunt-talking conservative lacks the name recognition and fundraising organization of his better-known rivals — former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and potential contenders Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Some have declared and some haven’t.

Santorum, a lawyer by training, had been laying the groundwork for a presidential bid when he lost a bruising re-election bid to the Senate in 2006. His sometimes abrasive style alienated voters in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, and they replaced him with Bob Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat.

Santorum said Monday that he lost the election because he stood for some unpopular positions, like Social Security reforms that are now no longer the third rail. He said looking back, he may have lost, but he didn’t flinch and stood by what he believed in.

Santorum’s policy positions align with national conservatives who now are looking at many of the expected candidates with skepticism.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s changes of heart on gay rights and abortion do little to help his second presidential effort. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is twice divorced. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who worked for three Republican administrations, nonetheless accepted President Obama’s offer to be the U.S. ambassador to China.

Santorum, 53, established a presidential exploratory committee to start raising money and joined the first Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. He is expected at next Monday’s debate in New Hampshire, having reached the 2 percent threshold required by the hosts to participate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/06/santorum-poised-to-enter-gop-presidential-contest/#ixzz1OUzk4HKP

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